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Forget multinationals... Why the real future is in 'very small business'

GoDaddy’s Steven Aldrich says small-time operators can solve a “crisis of meaning” in the world’s workforce.

GoDaddy's Steven Aldrich
GoDaddy's Steven Aldrich
Image: Twitter/spaldrich

VERY SMALL BUSINESSES – enterprises employing only one or less people – are what is needed to close the “meaning gap” in the modern workplace.

US entrepreneur and GoDaddy senior vice president Steven Aldrich said despite today’s white-collar workers from across the world enjoying much better pay and conditions than their predecessors, there was a “crisis of meaning” in the jobs market.

Speaking at the Web Summit in Dublin, he pointed to a recent survey of the global workforce which found over 60% of employees were “disengaged” in their jobs.

Some 24% were “actively disengaged” – that is, they were actually trying to sabotage their boss or workplace.

“When you add this together that suggests that something isn’t right,” Aldrich said.

“There’s a gap in what it is that they’re doing day in day out that provides meaning to their lives.

Tech Noir Animated GIF Source: Giphy

How will we close that gap? I think we should think about small businesses, because when small business come together, not only can you get something where you have the ability to get paid for what you do and do something you’re good at, you can inject a third capability – doing something you enjoy.”

He said there were 200 million “very small businesses” across the world, but many more were needed to cater to the hundreds of millions in extra workers that would enter the global employment market over the coming decades thanks to population growth.

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Here’s the good news

But Aldrich said the technology costs of launching a small business were now a fraction of previous start-up costs because of companies like GoDaddy, which sells cheap, off-the-shelf web services for enterprises.

He said as long as entrepreneurs had a few thousand dollars to invest and some industry experience they had a good chance of surviving through the difficult first year in business.

If they don’t bring in the money they don’t get paid, so there’s no safety net for these small business owners,” he said.

“But there are some wonderful things that have happened over the past 20 years … that are not only lowering the barriers of entry to technology businesses, but lowering the cost of any business to have access to this technology.”

READ: These are the tech tools every SME should know about for the future >

READ: We should back female and elderly entrepreneurs better: small-business lobby >

About the author:

Peter Bodkin  / Editor, Fora

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